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During a time when anyone with a camera (which is everyone) considers themselves a photographer, it can be hard to set yourself apart as a professional. Additionally, if you’re an independent event photographer, you have a lot of work to do besides the photography itself. One of the hardest things is learning how to market yourself so that you have a steady stream of good customers. Here are some ideas to keep your business booming:
1: Social Media Promotions
Now, it should be a given that any photographer looking to grow their business uses social media to showcase their work. This is especially true for social media networks that are visually-motivated, like Instagram and Pinterest. However, using social media effectively to grow is about more than having a profile and posting now and then. Here are some ideas:
Make sure you have a google business page, since this is really important for organic search results. The best way to build this page is by getting reviews from your clients.
Offer a giveaway or a major discount to your followers, but be smart about it. Getting new clients who are only interested in the discount and would never hire you for full price isn’t actually worth your time. The best way to use this approach is to offer two-for-one deals to existing clients, or referral bonuses to motivate your current clients to talk to their friends.
2: Branded USB Drives
It’s common practice today to give a flash drive with all of the photos that you take at an event because we’re able to take a LOT of photos with our digital resources. Instead of just using a generic USB drive, next time think about using one that has your branding on it. This reminds them of the experience of hiring you as a photographer whenever they’re happily reminiscing with the fantastic photos that you captured! This kind of effect can increase return customers and referrals.
3: Invite Helpers
Whenever you’re doing a job at an event, invite others to help with small jobs (like holding the reflector) and give them small items of branded swag as a thank you. This helps people to watch the process up close, and get an idea of your expertise. It also gives them familiarity and a relationship that they’ll remember next time they need a photographer. This technique can be especially handy for weddings, when your best future clients are other wedding guests and people from the wedding party.
4: Feature Your Work on Local Publications
Most people think that magazine features happen when the reporter reaches out to a lucky photographer. But the truth is that often, the work that gets featured on publications is submitted by enterprising professionals. Your work can be featured on local publications if you do some outreach. Aim for niche interests and local businesses so that you’re more likely to stand out. And remember that a lot of these publications will be online, which is just as good (and even better, sometimes) as a magazine.
Often, features won’t just be about your work, but about the event that you were hired for. So sometimes all you have to do is make sure that your best work is featured and that you have credit in the article. If the article is online, make sure there’s a link to your website.
5: Make Professional Connections
For professional photographers, business to business connections are essential. Just one valuable connection can open up so many possibilities for you. And often, the same vendors will travel in the circles that you want to. So, just knowing a few wedding planners, DJ’s and caterers can boost your referrals exponentially every year. That’s why you should always make the most of opportunities to network with other wedding professionals. Share your card, or other branded gear to help them remember your name and webpage so they can refer people quickly and effectively. Go to conventions. And make sure that you return the favor of referrals so that they understand the value of your relationship.